Going mad about parking

Campus Times
March 14, 1997

by Andrea Gardner
Managing Editor


I stopped driving to class from the Oaks this year when my commuter friends threatened to slash my tires if they ever spotted my car in a ULV parking lot.

Other commuters who did not even know me started sending me the vibes of hate when I was driving my car to class.

It is now my sound belief that the threats, hate mail and dead bunnies left on my door step are justified from the commuters whose parking spots I took. For the first time, I felt their pain.

This awakening was reached last week when, after coming back from work, I decided to grab a parking space near the Student Center, rather than driving back to the Oaks and taking the 10-minute walk to school.

Venturing out into the dark lagoon of tar and white lines, I made a few casual turns around Davenport, the library and Brandt Hall.

The time was 6:15 p.m. I made a few more circles around... around... and around.

I sampled a few strategies. I tried circling around one lot a few times to improve my odds. I tried flirting with guys walking in the parking lot in hopes of getting their space. I even considered a handicapped space, but my conscience got the best of me and I coasted on.

I began to see the same cars madly circling with me. As the time drew closer to 6:30 p.m., the mood began to change. Cars began to speed up, horns began to sound. The familiar faces in the cars I kept passing on Third Street got mean and nasty. They began making sharper turns, fingers began flying (I will not say which ones).

Come 6:30, it was a war zone.We were all like vultures on the prowl for the same thing. It was like those nature videos where the tigers all fight over the same prairie dog. We were desperate. An open space to us was like water in the desert.

All of my fellow savages needed to get to class. Though I just wanted dinner, I decided that I was not going to let the spirit of the almighty parking structure at ULV win. I would find a space if it took all night. It began to look that way.

My luck began to change, though, when two spaces opened at one time. Though there was one car in front of me to get the first space, I was a sure bet for the second one. That was until some little red hatchback pulled around me to steal it away, as I naïvely waited behind the car pulling into the first space.

After a sharp turn, a few random gestures and some choice words, I continued on. It was then that I saw a guy getting into his car. I had hit the jackpot. His red lights went on, he was ready to pull out and then... his lights went off. He got out and told me that his car would not start.

I was livid. After 25 minutes of looking for a parking spot, his car would not start. How appropriate. To say the least, I let him know what I thought of his stupid car and proceeded through the parking lot at a speed that would have gotten me a ticket on the freeway.

Parking at this school is just out of control. I know it is not as green on the other side of the fence, where Cal Poly students have to pay for bad parking, but this is the University of La Verne. This is the close-knit school that I chose because it is small.

It is the aim of President Stephen Morgan and the Admissions Office, though, for ULV to get even bigger. Enrollment is meant to go up. I am lucky, though. I can walk from the Oaks, and intend to now that I have seen the light.

But what about commuters? Before we start worrying about the classes, teachers, and facilities for this rise in enrollment, maybe we should first think about what we will do with all of the cars that take students to and from school. If students cannot find a place to park their vehicles, they will spend the majority of their time here in the war zone I have just described. It is not pretty and if the drafters of this master plan do not start planning for next year, it may just become a fact of life.

Happy driving.

Andrea Gardner, a junior broadcast journalism major, is managing editor of the Campus Times. She can be reached by e-mail at gardnera@ulvacs.ulaverne.edu.

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